Cycling is a forward motion sport. We spend hours in the saddle hunched over, with little opportunity to stretch the side of our bodies.
This lovely side opener will bring more space to the side of your chest, allowing the breath to flow more easily around the 360 lung area.
Simply lie on your side with the roller under your shoulder just below the armpit. You might feel some tension/crunchiness, explore rolling around this feeling of discomfort - if it's too strong you can ease off and massage the area around top and bottom, side to side.
Move the roller down your lats little by little exploring how it feels before repeating the same actions on your other side.
This is a great thoracic spine opener - cyclists and computer monkeys often feel a lot of tension in this area of the back due to forward -curved shoulder position.
Lie with your back flat on the floor and your knees bent, heels towards your bum. Place the roller underneath your middle back (where the bra strap sits) with your hips on the ground.
Gently lie on the roller with your hands reaching up to the sky to allow your back to drape over the roller.
Breathe your way and relax to allow the muscles to open up. Then roll for a minute up and down the top and middle of the spine - avoid the lower back.
After a minute you can add in some overhead extensions reaching for the floor over your head.
IT BAND (OUTER THIGH)
The IT band is a key muscle for driving leg extension and stretches - from the TFL muscle at the top of the side of your thigh down the side to your knee.
If you have an aggravated IT band please avoid rolling it until you have sought medical attention as rolling can aggravate ITB Syndrome.
If your IT band is tight you can try rolling it out very gently from above the knee to near the hip. The first few weeks of doing this may be challenging. Ease into it by rolling to a 40-degree angle off the muscle to the side. You may find some clusters of intensity. Explore around these in patches and notice which movements ease them and how they feel post ride. The tightness should improve over time if you're also rolling out your glutes.
QUADS (FRONT OF THIGHS)
Your quads play a key role in the downward pedal push and so appreciate self-care.
Lie face down on the roller, placed a couple of inches up from your knees. Then roll up and down the front of your thighs.
You can play around with focussing on different areas - like closer to the knee - and closer to the hips where there may be tension.
Another play is to walk your clasped hands to the right so that your quad muscles roll laterally over the roller - this exploration will again massage around the core muscle. Repeat walking your hands to the left. You may find this less painful and more effective than rolling directly on top of the quads. Spend at least 2 minutes rolling slowly on this key area.
HAMSTRINGS (BACK OF THIGHS)
Another key area that takes a hammering - this time in the upward pull of the pedal stroke.
Place the roller under your thighs and roll up and down targeting areas of tightness with some focussed rolls.
Try focussing on one thigh at a time by placing the roller under the left thigh and lifting and bending the right knee outwards and placing the right foot over the left top thigh. This allows for deeper exploration. Repeat under the right thigh, with the left outward bended knee placed over the right top thigh.
To ease the pressure you can gently lean backwards, placing your hands behind you for added support.
I like taking the roller right up to the butt to roll out the area leading up to the glutes.
Your glutes are one of the largest muscles in the body and key in cycling. They can be an area of weakness for cyclists who ride frequently.
We're aiming to roll the glutes side to side L-R, not lengthways (as this lengthens the muscle even more).
Sit with the roller under your butt and your hands behind you on the floor for stability. I like to sit right on the edge of the roller so that it gets deep into the glute and roll side to side feeling out any areas of tension. Repeat on the other side.